Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chapter 1 Why Don't Students Like School?

Section 1: “Why Don’t Students Like School?”

In this book Mr. Willingham outlines nine principals from his extensive research on cognitive and biological development of the human brain. His goal is to help teachers connect with the developing minds of our students.

In chapter one the principal he talks about is “People are naturally curious, but they are not naturally good thinkers; unless the cognitive conditions are right, we will avoid thinking.” Each principal is then broken down into parts. The first part “The Mind is Not Designed for Thinking” states that thinking is not one purpose our brain serves best and even though were not good at it, we actually like to think. But if we can get away with it, we will rely on memory instead of thinking. Most of the problems we solve are ones that we have done in the past so we do what we have done in the past. Willingham also says that the brain also helps us to see and move and most of the brain is devoted to seeing and movement. He also states that “We are naturally curious, and we look for opportunities to engage in certain types of thought. But because thinking is so hard, the conditions have to be right for this curiosity to thrive, or we quit thinking rather readily.”

The next section of chapter one is “People Are Naturally Curious, but Curiosity is Fragile.” Willingham states that the brain enjoys mental activity in some circumstances and it usually depends on the level of difficulty. If it is too hard we will avoid it and if it is too easy we will lose interest. He says to find the “sweet spot” or the middle ground that grabs their interest and maintain it. Willingham end this section with “Instead of making the work easier, is it possible to make thinking easier?”

The next section is “How Thinking Works.” In this section Willingham states that there are four factors in successful thinking and if any of these factors are inadequate, more than likely thinking will likely fail. The four factors are: “information from the environment, facts in long-term memory, procedures in long-term memory, and the amount of space in working memory.”

In the last section of the chapter “Implications for the Classroom” Willingham recommends seven items that teachers should consider for fully engaging students in the learning process: Be Sure That There Are Problems to Be Solved – identify your challenges and outcomes. Look for negative outcomes. Respect Students’ Cognitive Limits – develop mental challenges but keep in mind cognitive limitations. Clarifying the Problems to Be Solved – develop key questions and make the material relevant to them as much as possible. Reconsider When to Puzzle Students – make them curious but know when to. Accept and Act on Variation in Student Preparation – self-defeating to give all students the same work. Change the Pace – monitor your students engagement and plan shifts. Keep a Diary – Your experience in your classroom is your best guide. Whatever works, do again; Whatever doesn’t discard.

In conclusion the amount of thinking required must be just right to retain a students interest. We as teachers need to know our students in order to plan effective lessons so students don’t become frustrated or bored and end up not liking school.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I think this picture represents the title because a lot of students feel like school doesn't represent what is new and useful to them. Sometimes they feel like school is an alternate universe where you learn things that don't apply to today.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Cover

The publisher of the book probably chose the cover they did because students often feel like running away from school for a variety of reasons. I chose this cover because another option to running away is hiding from the problem. I think this cover could represent the feelings of many students who find creating a fort more fun than going to school.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Book Cover

I chose this image because I think it shows "why students don't like school" is because they are disengaged and bored. The eyes of this child seem to scream "HELP ME" I think many children do not like school because they are not engaged in their learning and therefore they are wanting to be somewhere else. Wouldn't we?

This image spoke to me in volumes. Students who don’t like school may not outwardly show their frustrations. They may be feeling like this on the inside but act out this frustration in other ways. As teachers we need to somehow analyze students’ actions and try to alleviate or understand their frustrations. This is not always a simple task.

Book cover image

I chose this image for the book Why Don't Students Like School? Because I think this image depicts one reason why students don't like school. TESTS!! Some kids have really high test anxiety which causes them to dislike school. This gentlemen in the image is a great example of that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Welcome to Literature Circle Eight!

Your Super Summarizer schedule is as follows:

Section One--Due October 28, Larry Aaker
Section Two--Due November 4, Carol Greco
Section Three--Due November 11, Damon Lange
Section Four--Due November 18, Denise McCormick
Section Five--Due December 2, Kathy Norwick
Section Six--Due December 9, Beth Schieffer (Talley)